Jobless Claims Continue Climb

October 3, 2002 ( - Jobless claims resumed their upward rise last week, and remained above the key 400,000 level for the sixth week in a row, according to the Labor Department.

New applications for unemployment insurance climbed by a seasonally adjusted 5,000 to 417,000 for the week ending September 28, according to the DOL.   That was slightly higher than analysts were predicting, and kept the measure above the 400,000 level widely regarded as a recessionary indicator by many economists.

That rise reversed a revised reported drop of 18,000 in the prior week (see  Jobless Claims Dip; Still Above 400,000 ).   Last week’s drop had originally been reported as 24,000.

More troubling, the more stable four-week moving average of new claims, which smoothes out weekly fluctuations, also rose last week to its highest level since the week of May 4, when it stood at 423,000.

Today’s report also showed that the number of unemployed people still collecting jobless benefits increased to 3.68 million for the week ending September 21, the most recent period for which the information is available. That was the highest level since the middle of June, suggesting weak hiring levels.